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Behind The Stick: Tequila Is The Star At Masa Azul

By Paul Leddy in Food on Dec 19, 2012 7:40PM

2012_12_19_BlackBetty.png Most people associate tequila with bleary nights involving salt and the sucking of limes. Others envision a fluorescent-green Margarita that is served from a whirring machine into a huge glass. But tequila can be so much more.

While the classic Margarita (not served out of a machine) dates back to the 1930's, the world of agave sprit-based cocktails (tequila, mezcal, soltol) is moving far away from just adding lime or grapefruit to a cocktail and coating the glass with salt.

In Chicago, we are lucky to have many inventive, agave-based cocktails heading in new and exciting directions. Leading the charge is Jenny Kessler at Masa Azul in Logan Square. You won't find the bottles from your younger days on the shelf at this bar. Instead, you will find small batch, artisanal spirits from independent producers. Agave spirits are unique in that, like wine, they are influenced by terroir. Terroir refers to the flavors in the finished product that are the result of such factors as climate and soil. Since agave takes so long to grow, and the spirit is distilled directly from the plant, the character of the terroir can vary widely from spirit to spirit.

Agave spirits are the stars of the cocktail menu at Masa Azul. Put yourself in the capable hands of the Masa Azul staff and explore the world of agave.